On Sunday, at 6 PM, in front of the 121 Precinct in Graniteville, a fairly new station-house dedicated in 2013, about seventy five attendees came out to show support for the NYPD. It was 94 degrees, as the heat provided an overly warm backdrop to the event. While it was scorchingly hot, at least the humidity was low and the sky was clear.
The event was organized by the Protect Our Kids Organization, a local nonprofit aimed at demanding action from NYC leadership as the city falls into a wave of rampant crime.
Speakers implored the crowd to help stop the violence by demanding city leaders to support the police, as protesters take to the streets demanding that the NYPD be de-funded, or even abolished.
While the protests initially began as a move to show solidarity with those marching for the life of George Floyd, the aims of the activists have changed and morphed over the last many weeks, and now include more ambitious goals: the overthrow of the U.S. government, and an end to policing, in any form.
Just last night, NYPD vehicles were vandalized in Manhattan, and trash cans were set ablaze, during yet another night of “peaceful” protesting.
Speakers at Sunday’s rally included Protect Our Kids co-founder Nicholas Robbins, NYC Parent’s Union Vice President Sam Pirozzolo, and others.
The foundation was created in response to a series of high profile assaults on adolescents at the Staten Island Mall in 2019, unprovoked attacks that left kids injured.
In a press release by Protect Our Kids, Robbins wrote, “It is unacceptable that we have incompetent leaders like Mayor Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, and Councilwoman Debi Rose who are putting lives at risk to pursue a political agenda. The mayor must re-establish the anti-crime unit within the NYPD and give the department all of the resources they need to protect the citizens of New York City. On Sunday we will make our voices heard.”
Mr. Robbins is also Chairman of the Staten Island SAM Party. Mr. Pirozzolo has not formed his own party, in case you were wondering; SAM is an acronym for the Serve America Movement, a centrist political party formed by both Democrats and Republicans, espousing liberal conservatism, a political stance right at home within the pages of Staten Islander.
Our paper(less) is dedicated to bringing Staten Islanders the news, free from biased viewpoints, and provides all perspectives. Our goal is to bring people together, and not divide. Our philosophy runs counter to most major media outlets.
The rally opened with a prayer by the chaplain, and a Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag. Mr. Robbins introduced the speakers, rattling off the string of recent shootings on the North Shore of Staten Island, and beyond. He addressed Mayor de Blasio and others that the NYPD’s budget be reinstated, that the plainclothes unit be reinstated, and that the police receive the same respect that the protesters are receiving. Robbins said, “…today we put those [NYC] so-called leaders on notice…I’m tired of seeing the the lives of people of color recklessly taken…”
Mr. Pirozzolo spoke next, asking the crowd, “If we de-fund the police, who’s going to be there to stop the violence?” Sam spoke about how certain school districts are failing People of Color, where kids can’t do math or read. He feels the education system is to blame, and the responsibility lies there, and not with the NYPD. He does not attack all Democrats, but rather feels it’s an issue that one political party controls the city. “The days of the Kennedy Democrat are gone! I don’t mind of someone is a Democrat…but we have to be on the same page.”
Sam also touched on the topic of Staten Island secession, a subject that has long been debated among islanders. “When people talk about leaving Staten Island, you all of a sudden get the fear mongering. What about the police? What about the pensions? Who’s going to pay for services? You want to stay here…or at least have an intelligent conversation…people are seceding…with their feet…they’re leaving New York City…they’re leaving New York State.”
Steve Margarella spoke next. He organized the Back to Work rally on the West Shore. Staten Islander has an interview with Mr. Margarella. He and his wife Diana presented a Thin Blue Line knit flag she created. “I do blame the Democrats…at the end of the day, they are responsibility for what is occurring now…when you see men and women in uniform…please thank them….these are the same guys who put their lives on the line day after day…every one of you are a sport for a young thug…they’re not going to ask you if you’re a Democrat or Republican…”
NYS Assembly Candidate for the 63rd District & Civil Litigation Lawyer and Assembly Candidate Anthony DeGuerre also spoke before the gathered crowd. Mr. DeGuerre often represents children in NYS Family Court. He spoke thusly about his experiences:
“There is nothing like hearing 8, 9, 10 year old kids talking about their Mom coming from from her second job at night…and they’re worries…there are drug dealers downstairs and they’re afraid they’re going to hurt her…there’s a brokenness that comes from fatherless homes. There’s a brokenness that comes form drug abuse/. There’s a brokenness that comes form gang vioence…we’re blessed to have the NYPD…the NYPD is under attack…Albany…wants to criminalize police conduct…”
Paul Ciurcina, an NYPD Medal of Honor Recipient, the highest honor awarded to police force members, a 22-year veteran detective of the police force, also addressed the crowd. Retired Detective Ciurcina is also running for NY Assembly. Following in the footsteps of his late father, Officer Paulie Ciurcina, who was also a well known NYPD member who received various citations for bravery and valor, the younger Paul Ciurcina has also distinguished himself during his long career with the NYPD.
And, like his Dad, also a devoted cop in his day, Paul has dealt with watching other officers face tragedy at the hands of criminals. The elder officer Ciurcina wrote extensively in his retirement, both poetry and prose, focusing on his experiences of watching fellow officers being harmed, and even killed, at the hands of criminals. In the 1990s, he was considered one of the top authorities on this topic, and was often asked to provide his insight.
If anyone is in a position to speak about the current state of the NYPD, and the hazard its officers face in the current climate of sanctioned police-hating, Retired Detective Paul Ciurcina, Jr. certainly is. He lived this in his own life as a cop, and growing up, was shaped knowing how much a dedicated police officer can suffer seeing his Dad permanently scarred by his own experiences on the job.
Paul greeted the crowd with a friendly smile and kindly, caring eyes, but what he was talking about was deadly serious, territory we should tread carefully in:
“…I have seen what crime does to families, to lives, to real people…cops are not afraid..they’re afraid of loosing their job,of going to jail..we’re going to lose a lot of good cops…we need to listen to our communities and their individual needs as it comes to issues of crime, safety, and quality of life…if you live on the North Shore…tell the city and state you’ve had enough…”
Eric Roman was another speaker, an EMT working in New York City. He talked briefly about how the current situation regarding policing in NYC is affecting our health and safety, “If a scene is not safe for an EMS provider, we’re told not to respond to that job. Every scene nowadays is not safe. We’re going into these jobs without the NYPD because they’re handcuffed…”
Leticia Remauro, owner of Staten Island marketing and advertising giant, the Von Agency, delivered an impassioned speech as well. She is running for Staten Island Borough President. Leticia spoke with passion about the NYPD, “The first thing I want to say is THANK YOU to our brave men and women in the NYPD…they have to go into neighborhoods where they are being set up..where they are getting bottles and cans and crap, literally, thrown at them…in a time when…the politicians are making it worse…we want our men and women to patrol our neighborhoods to keep us safe…I worked down on Jersey Street…every meeting…the neighbors of Jersey Street asked for…and they ran the colors of the ainbow..they wanted more policing, not less…”
Supporting your local police is not mutually exclusive with caring about Black people. Some would like you to think this is the case. In fact, Black people, and all people, need effective policing to keep their streets safe from criminals of all races, those degenerate individuals seeking to take advantage of others. The fat is, there will always be people who wish to use their freedom to prey upon others, and without the NYPD being permitted to do their work unhampered, many Black people, White people, and people of all races on Staten Island and NYC, will ultimately suffer as victims of crime. It’d just a fact.
It’s not about race, it’s just human nature. We can be our best, or we can be our worst. The police are here only to make sure that those seeking to be their worst don’t create a situation for everyone else that is intolerable and oppressive. Anyone living through the 1970s and 1980s in New York can attest to the fact that without law and order, chaos will reign.